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I can’t tell you how desperately I wish we had the time and proximity to sit down for coffee together. There is so much I want to hear from you and so much I need to say.

Sweetest friend, this letter will have to suffice, but let me promise that it comes with more compassion, love, and understanding than I could ever express in written form. I wish you could see my eyes, feel my embrace, and take away some of my passion knowing there is hope and a path for you to travel forward to a different tomorrow.

First of all, let me say this—- I hear you. I hear the cry of your heart. I see the exhaustion in your eyes. I see the pain of your soul covering you like an unwanted wet blanket. You are not alone. I’ve been where you are. I’m reaching my hand in to help pull you out— if only you will take it.

I hear the cry of your heart. I see the exhaustion in your eyes.

I remember the feeling so well— knowing what’s right. Wanting what’s right. Yet doing the wrong thing again and again and again. I can still recall the quicksand of my decisions, always driven by emotions. And the overwhelming compulsion to satisfy the “need” that screamed loudest in my head. Afterwards I hated it every time.

It took a long time for me to find the tools to change but it is possible and 100% in reach for you—no matter how deep you’re in, no matter how long it’s been, no matter what you’ve done.

What I can offer more than anything else today is a testimony and a starting point:

I was broken, and now I’m whole.

I was fragile, and now I’m strong.

I was scared and anxious, and now I’m peaceful.

I was heartbroken, and now I’m joyful.

I was empty, and now I’m filled.

What I can offer more than anything else today is a testimony and a starting point.

If you decide enough is enough. And you keep deciding each day— you can be all of these things too. Even if you mess up sometimes—just ask God to give you the grace to keep going or begin again.

He can do so much with a willing and broken heart. Will you give it to Him?

Here’s what I have learned after years of soul-searching, many failed attempts, plenty of therapy, and more prayer than you can even imagine:

dandelion-698673_1280You have to start by going after the root issue that compels you to act in unhealthy ways. Your actions themselves are not the root—they are the fruit that grows up from it. When you pop off the head of a dandelion, it grows right back and produces more fluffy white seeds because the root is still in the ground. Removing the head is a quick fix that only makes it appear like the weed is gone. In the same way, you can try to control your behavior or make a fresh start, but it will only work for a season. We have to dig up the root that perpetuates our behavior.

The roots are always hiding in your deepest, oldest pain. They are lodged in your memories—even the ones you don’t remember. If you want your life to change, you have to give the Lord access to those places that you shut Him out of long ago. Jehovah Rapha, the Lord our Healer, has to go into your caverns of secrets and pain to clean them out and stitch them up. This is something you can absolutely do with the guidance of the Holy Spirit—especially if you’re done fighting and your walls are down. Ask Him to show you the roots. Ask Him to reveal where the problems came in. Ask Him to help you grieve a Godly sorrow and clean out everything that He never wanted for you. Then take accountability for the fruit you have allowed… For your responsibility in the unhealthy decisions and patterns.

On the other hand, if you know it’s going be a struggle and you need help, I get it. I was the same way. I needed my hand held by someone who had been in my shoes. I worked with Restoring Relationships, a ministry that has professional online and live tools to walk people through the process of digging up unhealthy roots before the Lord. (If you decide to work with Restoring Relationships let me know. I have lots more I could tell you and I’d love to support you through prayer and more.)

Here’s the thing— I know you’d prefer an easier first step. I know a self-help book or checklist or prayer to warm you up would be a lot more encouraging right now. BUT I love you enough to tell you the truth: You’ve got to deal with the roots before you do anything else. Then you’ll be free enough to learn how God sees you and to receive His plan for you. Only then can you start tackling your emotions with discipline, and rewiring your brain for victory and success.

It’s going to take work, but it’s wonderful work that is so worth it. I promise that it’s more beautiful than it is painful. I promise you that if you stick with it, one day you’ll be grateful for even the hardest days of your life. Because without who you are today, you can’t become the person God wants to make you for tomorrow. It’s life’s greatest paradox. The sad days make the happier ones brighter. The pain makes the healing richer. And the sacrifice makes the victory sweeter. Fight for it, honey. God needs you, the world needs you, and your people need you to fulfill your destiny. And I can’t wait to watch and cheer you on.

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